“Inglese Italianato e un diabolo incarnato” Translation and the Appropriation of Italian Culture in Early Modern England

deadline for submissions: 
August 7, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Laboratoire Episteme Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

Call For Papers

Renaissance Society of America

Annual Conference, 30 March -2 April, 2022, Dublin, Ireland

“Inglese Italianato e un diabolo incarnato” 

Translation and the Appropriation of Italian Culture in Early Modern England 


“Shall I apologize translation?”: thus begins John Florio’s address to the reader in the English edition of Montaigne’s Essays (1603). Famous for the publication of his Italian-English dictionary A Worlde of Wordes (1598), the author, tutor and translator defended, throughout his career, the role of the translator as fundamental to the importation of foreign knowledge. Not everyone shared Florio’s enthusiastic defence of translation, especially of Italian texts, which were also seen as potential agents of religious and moral infection. Counterbalancing the preservation and defence of the English tongue with the necessity of enriching the language in an age of unprecedented literary development, the English stance towards Italian culture could in fact vary according to the shifting socio-political equilibrium of the early modern world. In this panel, we hope to enquire into the complex relationship woven between early modern Italy and England through the means of translation. What genres and forms did English translators of Italian texts privilege? What was their intent in favouring certain types of texts? What formal and cultural transformations did Italian texts undergo as they were appropriated, denizened or domesticated? What were the literary, aesthetic and political stakes of such transformations? 


Proposals for papers are invited on subjects that include, but are not limited to: 

● Specific English translations of Italian texts / prose and poetry (Petrarch, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Tasso; but also Machiavelli, Bruno, Castiglione...) 

● Dictionaries and multilingual editions, and their impact on English literature 

● The influence of Italian culture on English literature (theatre, fiction, essays…) in looser forms of rewriting 

● Defense/attack of the Italian language and its influence on the English language 

● Italian models and anti-models in English literature and popular culture 

● Early modern readers’ responses to Italian texts in the original and in translation (as in marginalia, commonplace books, correspondence…) 

This panel is sponsored by the Research group Épistémè, at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris). 


Please submit a short abstract (150 words max.) and a brief CV (one page max.) to beatrice.fuga@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr by August 7th, 2021